How dancing can help with your arthritis

Many arthritis sufferers avoid movement because of achy or painful joints. But, regular exercise is one of the best ways to ease arthritis pain. Dance is a great choice because it's not as high-impact as some sports, but it still works your whole body. Here's how dance can help with your arthritis.

How dancing can help with your arthritis

Boosts your mood

Studies have shown that dancing reduces depression and anxiety in arthritis patients.

So, you might want to skip your late-night TV binge and head to class instead. You'll be surprised at how getting out and moving around can help.

Improves mobility

Dancing works small muscles that often get neglected in everyday life, like the ones in your feet. Working on making these muscles more flexible can help relieve some stiffness that arthritis sufferers often have to deal with.

Strengthening those muscles can also help take the strain off your joints. This is because the better your muscles and tendons support your joints, the less pressure movement puts on your body.

Improves flexibility

Being more flexible isn't just about being able to do the splits. Stretching your muscles and joints to maintain and increase your flexibility can help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

No matter what dance style you try, make sure you warm up and cool down carefully to maximize the flexibility benefits.

Always stretch when you are warm, either after class or after some light activity (think a brisk walk or light jog).

If you're looking for stretching advice, ask your teacher. They're sure to give you some great tips.

Improves overall fitness

Like any exercise regimen, if you dance regularly and consistently, you will get stronger.

Plus, if you're looking for something to get your heart rate up, many dance forms (especially dance fitness like Zumba) do raise your heart rate and offer some cardiovascular benefits.

Helps maintain a healthy weight

Staying at a healthy weight is key for arthritis sufferers. Finding a workout you enjoy is a big part of that. And, dance can be fun!

Find your groove

Before you try a dance class, make sure your teacher is aware of any physical limitations that would affect what you can and can't do in the class. And, of course, pay attention to your own body's signals. If you are in pain, stop and stretch or rest.

Also, even though you might feel stiff or sore at first, keeping your body in shape is crucial to maintaining quality of life with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Stronger muscles and bones help protect your joints. And, dancing can be a great distraction from arthritis pain.

So, for some relief from your arthritis, why not give dancing a try?

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